A couple of weeks ago, Leave No Trace America completed work with a committee of educators, Non-Governmental Organisations, representatives from government agencies, scientists and other leaders to create Leave No Trace New Zealand. The group, led by Chris North from the New Zealand Alpine Club and the University of Canterbury College of Education, contacted Leave No Trace America three years ago to begin discussion about forming a Leave No Trace organisation there.
North describes that while the importance of environmental care is understood by many New Zealanders, the country has multiple and sometimes conflicting environmental care codes. The multitude of codes give general instructions but are rarely explained further: specifically, the how to, what, and why.
North also sites an increasing number of people using the New Zealand outdoors from overseas that are unfamiliar with the unique elements of the local environment and how to take care of it. The lack of a unified approach to outdoor skills and ethics, combined with his work with the Leave No Trace programme while living in the United States, inspired him to mobilise the people and resources to form a Leave No Trace organisation in New Zealand.
North and his colleagues at Leave No Trace New Zealand will be operating as volunteers for the next several months, developing the infrastructure, partnerships and introductory materials to introduce the programme to the general public.